Currently, there is no systematic way to describe a quantum process with memory solely in terms of experimentally accessible quantities. However, recent technological advances mean we have control over systems at scales where memory effects are non-negligible. The lack of such an operational description has hindered advances in understanding physical, chemical, and biological processes, where often unjustified theoretical assumptions are made to render a dynamical description tractable. This has led to theories plagued with unphysical results and no consensus on what a quantum Markov (memoryless) process is. Here, we develop a universal framework to characterize arbitrary non-Markovian quantum processes. We show how a multitime non-Markovian process can be reconstructed experimentally, and that it has a natural representation as a many-body quantum state, where temporal correlations are mapped to spatial ones. Moreover, this state is expected to have an efficient matrix-product-operator form in many cases. Our framework constitutes a systematic tool for the effective description of memory-bearing open-system evolutions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics